REACH Joins Foundations to Support Voter and Civic Engagement

MERRIAM, KS – The REACH Foundation is joining with two funding partners to host an informational session on Wednesday, August 9, to discuss an open RFP for a new three-year project centered on increasing voter and civic engagement in democratic processes. The REACH Foundation is partnering with the Kansas Health Foundation (KHF) and the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City (HCF) on a three-year initiative that will support nonprofit organizations to build ongoing, year-round voter registration, education and mobilization efforts into their health equity issue work, and to reach out to populations that are typically underrepresented in election processes and other aspects of democracy. The foundations will invest in up to 10 organizations in Kansas and the three counties in Missouri that are part of the REACH and HCF service area to incorporate integrated voter engagement (IVE) strategies and activities into their work with underserved populations. The goal is to increase voter registration and turnout in local, state and national elections, and encourage greater civic engagement between election cycles.

Organizations may apply for up to $75,000 annually for a total of $225,000 over three years. Organizations interested in developing a non-partisan IVE program can review the RFP and application requirements at The site includes details on the RFP along with a pre-recorded informational webinar and links to required attachments. The deadline to apply is 5 p.m. Thursday, September 7, 2017. 

The REACH Foundation has committed $300,000, including resources for technical assistance and evaluation, within the foundation’s “Close the Coverage Gap” outcome investment area, which encompasses strategies aimed at increasing citizen and voter education and engagement on issues that affect health coverage and care.

The funders will present the initiative and the application process at three informational meetings. The REACH Foundation will host a meeting on Wednesday, August 9, 2017, at our offices at 6700 Antioch Road, 2nd Floor Large Conference Room, Merriam, KS. Individuals interested in attending are asked to RSVP to Dian Ringer, KHF program assistant, at Two other sessions will be held Monday, August 7, in Garden City, KS; and Friday, August 11, in Wichita. Attendance at an informational session is encouraged but not required for application.

Integrated voter engagement is gaining increasing attention because of disparities among those who register to vote and turn out for elections, and lack of engagement in our governmental processes. Research has shown that non-partisan IVE is an effective way of increasing voter turnout, particularly among racial, ethnic and other demographic groups – such as young adults – that are less likely to register and/or participate in elections and civic activities. IVE differs from typical “get out the vote” activities by connecting voters to ongoing advocacy and organizing efforts on issues that shape public policy. In supporting this initiative, our aim at REACH is to engage community groups that often don’t have access to decision leaders so that their concerns and issues are heard and considered by policy makers.

“This initiative represents an exciting opportunity to ensure our region’s diverse community members are equipped to influence discussions and decision-making about governmental actions that affect their health and community well-being,” said Brenda Sharpe, REACH President and CEO. “In looking at voting trends in Kansas over the past few years, we can see large differences in participation among racial and ethnic minorities, and people with low incomes. Without a voice in policy decisions, these individuals experience even greater hurdles in getting their concerns in front of leaders who make policy and resource decisions that affect their lives.”

Learn more about the initiative and RFP:

Review PowerPoint Slides: Integrated Voter Engagement presentation 8.09.17